Cookies, Holiday

Orange & Cranberry Linzer Cookies

It’s finally here! We’re kicking off our 12 days of cookies with Orange & Cranberry Linzer Cookies. Nothing says the holidays more than Linzer cookies. A buttery, crunchy cookie filled with jam and topped with powdered sugar. We made a homemade cranberry orange jam and let me tell you, you won’t want any other cranberry sauce or jam after this. It’s tart, sweet, and the perfect addition to the almond cookies.

Welcome to Day #1 of our 12 Days of Cookies!

What is a Linzer cookie?

Linzer cookies are thin almond cookies, similar to a sugar cookie, but with almond flour. Most of the time they are filled with a jam, but you can fill it with other stuff like caramel, icing, or curd. Linzer cookies originated in Austria, in the town of Linz. (Of course, right?)

I had actually never tasted a Linzer cookie until now, but the balance of the tart jam with the light, buttery cookie is the best combo. They are actually very similar to sugar cookies, but crispier and less sugary.

How to Make Linzer Cookies

Linzer cookies may seem a little intriguing, especially when you just found out about them, but I guarantee you, they are super easy!

  1. Start by creaming your butter and sugars. (Like most cookies 😉)
  2. Continue to mix in the baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Next, add in your almond flour and flour. Mix until combined. Then, add in your egg. The dough will be somewhat soft.
  4. Form the dough into a large disc and chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Time to make the jam! Add the cranberries, orange juice, zest, water, and sugar to a medium pot. Heat to medium and bring to a boil. Once it has boiled, reduce heat to a medium-low simmer and cover. Simmer for another 25-30 minutes until the cranberries pop and the jam has thickened. Occasionally stir the jam throughout the 25 minutes.
  6. Bring the dough out to come back to room temp for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Once the jam is done, pour the jam over a strainer and use a spatula to separate the pulp from the juices. Once it is just a lump of pulp with no juice left, it’s done.
  8. Roll out your chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll to 1/2″ thick. Use circle cutters to cut the cookies. My circle cutter was 3″ wide. Here is the link to buy.
  9. Once you roll out your cookies, use a mini cutter to cut shapes in the center of half of the cookies. I used a star, heart, and flower from this pack. If you don’t have shapes, you can also use the circle part of a piping tip or a small circle.
  10. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes until the edges are just golden. Make sure to also bake the fun shapes you cut out.
  11. Let the cookies fully cool before assembling.
  12. Sift powdered sugar over the cookies with the holes in them. You can use a sifter or a strainer and tap the side.
  13. Spread 1 small spoonful of jam in the center of the whole cookie with no shapes cut out. Use a spoon or offset spatula to spread the jam almost to the edges. Place a cookie with a cutout on top of it and gently press down to make a cookie sandwich.
  14. Continue this for the rest of your cookies and ta-da!

Tips for Making the Best Linzer Cookies

Overall, Linzer cookies are easier than you think and with some extra tips you will get them perfect.

  • You must use softened butter – Linzer cookie dough is very similar to sugar cookies which means you still cream the butter and sugar, add flour… but you also have to chill the dough similar to other cookies. If you don’t have softened butter, it could really mess up the texture of your dough and then have butter pockets once baked.
  • Make sure to chill your dough – This linzer cookie dough is still soft once you mix everything, so you still have to chill it. I know, it’s not super fun, but you must do it! If you don’t, the cookies could spread and lose their shape in the oven.
  • Don’t be scared if the edges of your dough are a little dry – The one thing about linzer cookies that is different than other cookies is the texture. The dough contains almond flour and powdered sugar so they are similar to shortbread in the way that they’re dry. So, if you’re rolling them out, don’t worry if the edges are a little crumbly.
  • Don’t forget to strain the jam – After making the jam, you want to strain it because of the cranberry skin that is still in the pot. Although you eat the skin when you eat cranberry sauce, you want this jam to be smooth and easy to spread in between the cookies.
  • It is very helpful to use parchment paper – You don’t always have to use parchment paper when you bake cookies, but adding that protective paper layer will prevent the bottoms from burning or browning too fast. Also, it helps the cookies from sticking to the pan.

Making the Perfect Jam

Now, what is the difference between jam and jelly? Jelly is made from fruit juice and jam is made from the pulp or crushed fruit. That’s also why most of the time jam is thicker and chunkier than jelly. Jam is also less stiff than jelly.

So there you go. This post is starting to sound more like a textbook than a recipe. 😁

Making jam is pretty easy, just double check these things:

  • Continue stirring your jam while it is simmering. Otherwise, certain sports could get too hot and you don’t want to overcook the jam.
  • Using fresh fruit is the best way to make jam. For this jam, I used 1 orange and fresh cranberries from the store. For this kind of jam, avoid using dried cranberries or orange extract.
  • It is better to go low and slow rather than hot right away. Typically jam reaches 105 F, but if it doesn’t your jam won’t thicken enough.

If you have extra jam after making your cookies, here are some things you can add it to:

  • Ice Cream
  • Toast
  • Pancakes
  • Other Baked Goods

Refrigerate the jam if you have leftover you’re not using.

Rolling and cutting the linzers

When you are rolling the Linzer cookies, there are a couple things you want to watch.

  1. Don’t over flour your surface, otherwise, the flour could affect the dough making it too dry.
  2. Linzer cookies aren’t supposed to be too thick. Try and stay around 1/2 inch.
  3. Letting your dough soften after chilling is very important. If you try to roll it while it is too cold, it will crumble into pieces. Rolling it out after it’s a little softer will be much easier and stay as 1 piece.
  4. The edges of the dough may crumble a little bit after the first couple of rolls, but the more you work the dough the warmer it will become. When the dough warms, it will be the same texture: smooth.

Assembling the Linzers

Once your cookies and jam are cooled, it’s time to assemble!

  1. Sift powdered sugar over the cookies with the shapes cut out. Leave the plain ones plain.
  2. You will add a small spoonful of jam to the center of the cookies with no holes.
  3. Gently spread the jam almost to the edge of the cookie and then press a cookie with a cutout on top. You can spread the jam with an offset spatula or spoon.
  4. Gently press another cookie on top. The jam will ooze to the edges and fill the shape that is cut out in the center.

Can I chill the dough for longer?

Yes! Instead of covering and chilling your dough for 30 minutes, tightly wrap in plastic and place in a bag. Then, you can chill or freeze the dough. If you chill the dough it will last for a few weeks. If you freeze the dough, it could last for a few months.

Let the dough soften before rolling out.

Troubleshooting the cookies

If you are having trouble with the cookies, here are a few things you can try.

  • My dough is too dry and completely crumbled when rolling it out! – Chances are you had too much flour in the dough and it affected the texture. Try folding in 2 tbsp of softened butter to add some more moisture. You might have also rolled it out too soon. Let it slightly sit at room temp before rolling it out.
  • My cookies are burnt on the bottom! – Try adding some parchment paper or a Silpat to your cookie sheet before baking. This will prevent the bottoms from baking too fast and getting too hot.
  • My jam is too thin! – You might need to cook your jam a little longer. This recipe doesn’t require a thermometer but if you want, the jam should get to 105 F. You might have also added too much water or liquid to the jam and it hasn’t cooked off yet.
  • My jam is too thick! – You might not have added enough liquid to the jam. Add a few extra tsp of fresh orange juice or water.
  • My cookies are soft and don’t snap! – Your cookies might need to bake a little longer. Remember, the cookies harden as they cool so factor that into your baking time.

If you love cookies as much as us, check out our other holiday cookies:

Did you make this recipe? Let us know below or on Instagram @tuesday.treats or use #tuesdaytreats2016

Orange & Cranberry Linzer Cookies

Recipe by Gillian VolzCourse: Cookies, HolidayCuisine: DessertDifficulty: Easy
Servings

24

servings
Prep time

1

hour 

10

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

30

minutes

The holidays are complete without Linzer cookies, especially without this cranberry and orange jam! Light, buttery cookies and filled with a tart jam. Add these to your cookie tray for Santa.

Ingredients

  • Linzer Cookie
  • 1 cup almond flour

  • 2 1/4 cups flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Orange & Cranberry Filling
  • 1 bag of cranberries, 12 oz

  • Zest from 1 orange

  • Juice from 1 orange

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 3/4 cup sugar

Directions

  • Linzer cookies
  • Start by creaming together the butter and sugar. Add in the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Continue to mix until fully combined.
  • Next, add in the flours. Mix to combine. Then, add in your egg and continue to mix.
  • Shape the dough into a disc and chill for 30 minutes. While the dough chills, let’s make the jam!
  • Orange & Cranberry Jam
  • Add the cranberries, orange zest, juice, water, and sugar to a medium pot. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  • Once it is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 25-30 minutes until the jam has thickened and the cranberries have popped.
  • Pour the jam over a strainer and use a spatula to separate the juices from the cranberry skin. You’ll know when it is done because there will be a lump of pulp with no juice left.
  • Take out the cookie dough and let come to room temp for 10-15 minutes before rolling out.
  • Cookie Baking
  • Roll the slightly softened dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s 1/2″ thick. Use Linzer cookie cutters or circle cookie cutters to cut the dough. Use mini shapes to cut the centers out of half of the cookies. *Notes
  • Place the cookies on a large cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. They will be golden on the bottom and firm on top. Remember the cookies harden as they cool.
  • Let the cookies cool before assembling.
  • Assembly
  • Sift powdered sugar over the cookies with the shapes cut out. Leave the plain ones plain.
  • Pour 1 small spoonful of jam in the center of the plain cookies and spread almost to the edges with a spoon or offset spatula.
  • Place another cookie on top and slightly press to squeeze the jam to the edges.
  • Continue this for the rest of your cookies. *Notes

Notes

  • Make sure that you only cut the center out of half of the cookies because you want enough bottoms and tops. If you don’t have any fun shapes to use for the center, use the circle part of a piping tip.
  • The jam will thicken as it sits out, so it will bind the cookies together as they sit.
  • It is important that you let the dough soften before rolling, otherwise, it could crumble too much.
  • I used a 3″ circle cutter that was scalloped for my cookies. Get the links for my products above.

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